Steer clear of trees in storms

In the thunder storms that rolled across the region last week four steers decided to shelter under some pine trees just outside Braidwood on the Cooma Road. It was a bad decision. Lightning struck the tree killing all four. 

The force of the strike created a chainsaw blade sized gash down the centre of the tree splintering the bark off through to the inner layer. The gash tracked 1cm deep and 1cm wide and runs about 10 metres down the tree trunk.

Owner Martin Royds said “the beasts would have been instantly electrocuted and fell a couple of metres from the tree. It’s a good lesson not to shelter under a tree in a storm.”

A lightning flash is no more than one inch wide and can reach over eight km in length, raise the temperature of the air by as much as 27,700 degrees Celsius, and contain a hundred million electrical volts. A stroke of lightning moves about 62,000 miles per second-one-third the speed of light.

Flashes of lightning can be several different lighting strokes in the same place, in quick succession which is why it appears to flicker.

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